I number of weeks ago, I volunteered myself to take the "prayer slot" at the Sunday morning service at Cityside for Nov 28th. Because it is the start of the Advent season, the theme of the prayer was meant to centre around HOPE. Weeks ago, when I volunteered myself for this contribution to the service, I felt confident about what I could do/say etc. Then Pike River happened. How hideous and potentially hurtful a prayer of "hope" now seemed. Being mindful that people still needed a space to process, this was what I said yesterday....
"Hope is a word we have heard spoken a lot in the last week. People were holding onto it tightly until suddenly, it was abandoned. With much grief we have held the miners and their families in our hearts.
There are things in this life I may never understand. However, what I keep reminding myself of is this; I am never alone in my loneliness. Even those closest to me are alone too. This may sound ridiculously melancholy but herein lies the beauty: We are together in our loneliness. The grief in our hearts (some big, some little) is shared.
Whenever my grandfather sings that old hymn “Great is Thy Faithfulness” rivers of tears flood his cheeks. Because this song’s meaning has changed for him over the course of his long life. In his youth it was a song of hope. In his twilight years this song has become a declaration of truth.
I would like to encourage you to be present and hold close whatever it is you need as your own prayer of hope today. Whether it be for yourself, someone you love or some other situation, bring that hope (even if it as small as a mustard seed) close to your chest and hold it. Acknowledge any fears, sadness, anger that you may have about your prayer.
I am going to play a song now by Jónsi. You wont recognize the words because it is sung in Icelandic. I have Googled it but have still not got any real information about the translation other then that the title of the song can translate from Icelandic to English to mean “coal” or “the dark seasonal time of year”. The beauty of not knowing what Jonsi is literally singing means that when I listen to this song, I hear what I want or need to hear.
I would like to encourage you to listen to this song while holding your prayer close. Let the words of this song be what your spirit needs to hear this morning. Let God sing over you, minister to you and enable your hope grow."
Here is the song. Kolniður by Jónsi